Dennis Rodman’s Monster Rebounding In A Nutshell, Chicago’s Rebounding Before and After The Coming Of The Worm

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Dennis Rodman’s Monster Rebounding In A Nutshell, Chicago’s Rebounding Before and After The Coming Of The Worm


The Worm as they call him—hustle plays, smothering defense, and most importantly, monster rebounding; Dennis Rodman embodies all of these.

In the golden age of big men, Dennis Rodman was a 6’7” rebounding machine going head to head with the biggest and tallest players in the league. With his sheer domination, it’s not surprising why the Chicago Bulls were eyeing for this man to come to the Windy City.

The Chicago Bulls were a complete juggernaut—they got the best player in the game, arguably the best SF of their time and quality role players. They weren’t missing a beat on rebounding, too. They got Horace Grant patrolling the paint and crashing the boards for them. It wasn’t the case during the 1995 season when the Magic stole Grant from them in the off-season. Their rebounding took a hit and it was Pippen becoming the top rebounder on the team.

In the 1995 NBA season, the Chicago Bulls ranked 10th on offense and 2nd on defense. For the rebounding part, they were 17th in defensive rebounds, 7th in offensive rebounds and 13th in total rebounds. They were averaging 41.5 rebounds per game and allowing 40.5 opponent rebounds per game. That’s only a +1% difference. But the Bulls were still above average for the most part despite missing Horace Grant.

Chicago faced no problems in the playoffs that year until they encountered one of the most polarizing and dominant centers in the game, Shaquille O’Neal, in the second round. In addition, the Big Diesel was joined by their former player, Horace Grant.

The Bulls lost to the Orlando Magic in 6 games in the second round of the playoffs wherein Shaquille O’Neal and Horace Grant exposed their rim protection and lack of rebounding prowess. The two big men outrebounded the helpless Bulls and averaged 13.2 rebounds and 11.0 rebounds per game respectively. Scottie Pippen was the highest rebounder for the Bulls with only 9.7 RPG.

Having realized their weakness and experiencing the threat of Orlando’s Big Men—the next year, before the 1996 NBA season, the Chicago Bulls signed Dennis Rodman who was the reigning rebounding leader. The Worm’s impact was instantly felt. The Bulls ranked 12th in defensive rebounds, 3rd in offensive rebounds and 4th in total rebounds. They were averaging 44.6 rebounds per game and only allowing 38 opponent rebounds per game, a +6.6 difference. They went from being Top 13 in total rebounds to top 4 with Rodman’s addition.

That year, they faced the Orlando Magic once again. Chicago couldn’t allow history to repeat itself. This time the Bulls went on to win the series and outrebounded the Magic behind Dennis Rodman’s 15.8 rebounds per game while Shaq averaged only 10.8. Although Grant only played a few minutes in Game 1 and was injured, Shaq’s dominance in the paint was lessened by Rodman, with him eventually outrebounding and containing the Big Diesel.

Rodman didn’t even have to score a lot to have an impact on the game, his rebounding numbers were ridiculous.

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